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The NHL Gets The 2013 Winter Classic Location Wrong

from Rob Parker at WDIV, It’s official.

The NHL should really be called the NGL, as in National Gimmick League.

It seems like that’s all the National Hockey League is about these days, so much so that it messed up an event that was actually pretty cool.

Somehow, the NHL powers-that-be didn’t believe that Hockeytown was good enough to host the 2013 Winter Classic.

Terrible.

Instead, they scheduled the Jan. 1 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings to play at Michigan Stadium. The league simply dissed the fact these two Original Six teams having been playing in Detroit for more than 50 years. Instead, they want to set some silly attendance record by using the Big House to sell more than 100,000 tickets.

It’s cheap, it’s tasteless. Especially since a few years ago Michigan and Michigan State did it already in a college

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winter+classic+2013

Comments

Link_Gaetz's avatar

Shutup.

Posted by Link_Gaetz on 02/10/12 at 03:27 PM ET

peiz11's avatar

Shutup.

Posted by Link_Gaetz on 02/10/12 at 12:27 PM ET

This…

I mean seriously, I’m disappointed it’s in Ann Arbor but it doesn’t lessen the impact of the game that much.  Talk about jumping the gun for page views.  This is why I haven’t read a Rob Parker article in years.  Brutal.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 02/10/12 at 03:29 PM ET

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Nice to see Rob Parker still giving his input on Detroit sports all the way from NYC. All he likes to do is stir the pot, I can’t remember the last time he said something positive about Detroit.

Posted by Zach Jerger from United States on 02/10/12 at 03:31 PM ET

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Rob Parker and Drew Sharp: still stinging from the Red Wings success after all these years. They will never forgive the Red Wings for making the Pistons yesterday’s news

Posted by RWGR from work on 02/10/12 at 03:37 PM ET

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I can’t speak to whether downtown Detroit feels snubbed by this arrangement.  Lord knows there are many others who read this website who can (and, I am sure, will) comment on that. 

But I will say I found this part of his article annoying:

Ilitch said. “We’re proud to show the world why we love ‘Hockeytown.’ I can promise you, there will be something for everyone.” 

Except an NHL game against two long-time rivals in downtown Detroit. That would have been special. That’s what made the Winter Classic, a classic. It was about great teams in great buildings. That was neat, playing hockey at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park in previous Winter Classics.

Please.  This is a HOCKEY game.  Being played outside.  Not a baseball game.  I get that Wrigley and Fenway are historic venues—hooray for them.  But this notion that the outdoor game can only be “special” if it’s played in an old baseball stadium is ridiculous. 

The one in Buffalo was fantastic, as was the one in Pittsburgh (and let’s not even talk about how much better the sightlines are for the paying fans in football stadia).  And you know what? If someday they set up temporary stands and played a Winter Classic on the Mall in DC, that would be pretty amazing, too. 

This event is about celebrating hockey being played outside.  Spare me the irrelevant baseball nostalgia.  This incessant focus on the venue is really getting tired.

Posted by Lex Talionis on 02/10/12 at 03:37 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I can’t believe the NHL would besmirch the purity of a highly-publicized and unnecessary-for-the-regular-season-competition outdoor game with a gimmick like getting more than 100,000 people to go watch it?

Those bastards.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/10/12 at 03:42 PM ET

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Frankly, the Big House is more historic than Comerica Park will ever be. If it had been Tiger Stadium, that would have been one thing. But the only thing Comerica Park has going for it is that it’s owned by the Illitches. BFD.

Posted by RyanVM on 02/10/12 at 03:43 PM ET

Faux Rumors's avatar

Disagree with the articles premise.  The idea of the Winter Classic is to get attention for the sport. As such the Michigan Stadium is a no-brainer. It gets the attendance record, and also gets a canadien team involved to keep those folks up north happy(for a few minutes)  wink

Posted by Faux Rumors from Globally- Here, there, Everywhere on 02/10/12 at 03:46 PM ET

DocF's avatar

As usual, Rob Parker is displaying his great ability to get it totally wrong.  This whole Winter Classic thing, as it is constructed for next winter will both gather national and international attention and provide a great marketing tool for downtown Detroit.  I wish I could travel up there for the whole she-bang. 

Whenever Parker says anything, it is well worth ignoring.

Doc

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 02/10/12 at 03:50 PM ET

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I went to the ‘06 Super Bowl in Detroit when the Steelers played and the city did a great job in my opinion.  I don’t think it has anything to do with Detroit not being able to host the Winter Classic.  You’re talking about two of the top NHL fan bases in the league playing each other in the Winter Classic.  Huge event - Huge Stadium.  Parker needs to chill out.

Posted by Geno71 on 02/10/12 at 03:57 PM ET

awould's avatar

The dumbest statement in the article.
The game should have been played at Comerica Park, in the heart of the best hockey city in America. Instead, it’s going to be played in Ann Arbor, nearly 45 miles away in a place not steeped in NHL tradition at all.

This implies the Red Wings support is mostly in the physical confines of the City of Detroit. It’s not. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that nearly every resident in Ann Arbor, who cares about hockey, is a fan of the Red Wings.

Also, Ann Arbor has no NHL tradition at all? Why, because they don’t have an actual NHL team? What about the 9 National Championships the Wolverines have won, or the 2 dozen or so alum currently in the NHL (2 of which play for Toronto!). I don’t make a big distinction between “NHL tradition” and hockey tradition, and I think a lot of hockey people would say Yost is a more historic arena, wtih more tradition, than 90% of today’s NHL arenas. The fact that UM/MSU already proved the Big House is a hit makes it more of reason to host it there, not less. Comerica Park can suck it. The Big House will be an incredible experience for the fans who are lucky enough to go, even in the nosebleed seats.

This article is dumb. What’s with all the Detroit sports writers who actually hate Detroit sports?

Posted by awould on 02/10/12 at 03:58 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Yeah the whole premise of this rant is just dumb.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 02/10/12 at 04:09 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Oh Rob!!! 

  Same cliched writing style you been using since you came to Detroit many years ago, and proceeded to pick a fight in the press with Sparky Anderson.

Another native new york media type who couldn’t hack it a big time market and has bounced around the Midwest trying to make a name for himself.

Haven’t you run out newspaper, radio stations, and TV outlets in Detroit to burn your bridges at yet?????

Posted by Down River Dan on 02/10/12 at 04:24 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Rob Parker is paid to troll. He’s not to be taken seriously.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 02/10/12 at 04:26 PM ET

Kevin182's avatar

awould you are also missing that the USA NTDP is based out of A2. Many NHL Stars have played them. Here is a list
Rick DiPietro
Patrick Kane
James van Riemsdyk
Erik Johnson
Keith Ballard
Jack Skille
Ryan Kesler
David Booth
John-Michael Liles
Ron Hainsey
Jack Johnson
Ryan Whitney
Phil Kessel
Mike Komisarek
Matt Carle
RJ Umberger
Patrick Eaves
Ryan Suter
Cory Schneider
Al Montoya
Jimmy Howard

Posted by Kevin182 from Motor City, MI on 02/10/12 at 04:30 PM ET

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But this notion that the outdoor game can only be “special” if it’s played in an old baseball stadium is ridiculous.

And more than that, what exactly makes Comerica somehow more of a great building than the big house?

And yeah, I can understand the disappointment some people have that it’s not being played in Detroit, but how exactly is it “terrible” and “tasteless”?  The game is a gimmick and everyone knows it, so it’s no more or less of a gimmick to have it played in the biggest venue available rather than in a baseball field that has no history and only a tangential connection to the team.

Posted by Garth on 02/10/12 at 04:45 PM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by Kevin182 from Motor City, MI on 02/10/12 at 01:30 PM ET

a couple more players who will play in the game that day. more and more details that rob parker ignored (or more likely, was ignorant of) in preparation of his trollish article.

too many sports writers value controversy over insight. it’s the lazy, stupid way out. it’s not hard to be a contradictory jerk on every issue, and it certainly doesn’t mean you have something intelligent or useful to say.

Posted by awould on 02/10/12 at 04:46 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

The Big House is the best venue for this game. It will be Classic in every sense of the word. Over 100,00 fans will have a great time. A very good way to showcase the NHL.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 02/10/12 at 05:15 PM ET

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Wow. People will object to everything

Posted by Larry from pitt on 02/10/12 at 05:21 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by Lex Talionis on 02/10/12 at 12:37 PM ET

Agreed, but the one in Buffalo and the one in Pittsburgh were in… Buffalo. And Pittsburgh. Not Niagara Falls and Beaver Falls.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/10/12 at 12:42 PM ET

I don’t disagree with you, but that’s kind a whole ‘nother can of worms.

Frankly, the Big House is more historic than Comerica Park will ever be. If it had been Tiger Stadium, that would have been one thing. But the only thing Comerica Park has going for it is that it’s owned by the Illitches. BFD.

Posted by RyanVM on 02/10/12 at 12:43 PM ET

Yeah, BFD, it’s owned by one of the few families that has actually tried and wanted to try to pump money into the metro Detroit area instead of picking up their business and taking it elsewhere six years ago. That part aside, just from an NHL perspective, it’s also owned by the family that owns the team playing in the game, a team that has been competitive and necessary for the financial health of the Western Conference and league for almost the last 20 years. I don’t think it’s too much to expect or ask for the Ilitches to want the game in Detroit at their park.

Michigan Stadium has absolutely no relevant history to the Detroit Red Wings, so the history argument is bunk whether you support having it in A2 or having it at Comerica.

Posted by Geno71 on 02/10/12 at 12:57 PM ET

Geno, I have to assume you’re a Pittsburgh fan given your name and your statement about coming to see the Steelers. Good on ya’ for staying about the fray and thanks for the compliments to the community. By all accounts, most of the national media and folks that traveled to the Super Bowl, MLB All-Star Game, and NCAA Tourney here were very pleased with their visit, and it’s nice to hear a fan of our hockey rival put that aside. Detroit and Pittsburgh are a lot alike, and as provincial as people from both cities can be, I think that Pittsburgh’s strong recovery from the downturn of the industrial revolution should be a model for what we strive for here in southeast Michigan. We are a hell of a lot more a like than we are different.

Posted by awould on 02/10/12 at 12:58 PM ET

Again, this is through your maize and blue glasses. I don’t dispute that almost all Ann Arbor area hockey fans are Red Wings fans. But the same would be true of most Traverse City, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Saginaw, or Port Huron hockey fans. The majority of population in the state that would want to attend this game has easiest access to downtown Detroit, not Ann Arbor. Obviously, that will be heavily counter-balanced by the fact that the majority of the population in this state are U of M front-runner fans.

Look, Parker is a troll and his article is bad. But the premise isn’t bad; rather, the reasoning is bad. It is bad writing, bad explanations, and just lazy all around.

I (obviously) agree with his premise that the game should be in Detroit. My strongest arguments are that:

- The Ilitch family deserves it. They have done a lot for the city and the state, a lot for the Red Wings, a lot for us fans of the Red Wings and Tigers, and a lot for the health of the NHL. They deserve to have the benefits of getting butts in the seats and in the concession lines at their ballpark. I’m obviously biased, but there are a lot of objective arguments to be made that say no current owner in the NHL has been more critical to the health of the league over the last two decades. I’m not naive—Ilitch has made his fair share of scratch, but I think if we got a close look at the balance sheets of the Wings and Tigers, we’d be surprised to see that equity aside, pizza money is subsidizing his enjoyment of those teams, not the other way around.

- It is a more central location with better access for the majority of fans attending the game and media covering it. Detroit may not be a population center itself, but its suburbs certainly make up the largest population center in the state. For someone like myself that lives in Plymouth, or if you live in Canton/Livonia/Northville/Novi on the far west side, it makes no difference. But if you live on the upper east side, up in the lakes, or downriver, Detroit is a better gathering place for this type of event.

Those are my two reasons. If you even want to throw the location thing out and argue that 94/23/14 will provide ample access, I won’t fight you. But to me, the argument about the Ilitches deserving this is enough on its own.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 02/10/12 at 06:07 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Oh, and last but not least… say what you want, but Detroit’s tax base has been providing support to the Wings and Tigers for a long time. It’s not totally unreasonable to say that the city, even if they will make bad decisions from the tax money they’d raise from the event, at least deserves that much.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 02/10/12 at 06:09 PM ET

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The Ilitch family deserves it.

Sure, and they’re getting more fanfare and events than any other Winter Classic has yet.  An AHL game, two OHL games, the Alumni game and the largest live audience for any hockey game every in the history of the universe.

They don’t deserve to have the game in a building they own.  Owning the building that the Detroit Tigers play in doesn’t have anything to do with hockey.

Would you be equally as happy if it were being played in a Little Caesar’s parking lot?

It is a more central location with better access for the majority of fans attending the game and media covering it.

Ok, and The Big House is a location that’s not far from Detroit and can hold between two and three times as many fans.  And as far as money for Detroit, I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of people attending the WC from out of town will be staying in and around Detroit rather than in Ann Arbor proper.

But obviously you’re entitled to your opinion.

Posted by Garth on 02/10/12 at 06:33 PM ET

Primis's avatar

When ESPN wants someone to put alongside Skip Bayless to make Bayless look smart… they call Rob Parker to appear.

That’s all you need to know.

Posted by Primis on 02/10/12 at 07:15 PM ET

hockeychic's avatar

Parker must not pay attention to hockey much.  Of course the Winter Classic is a gimmick.  It’s a gimmick to draw attention to the sport.  What a great way to do it by having it in Michigan Stadium.  Sightlines are much better in a football stadium than in a hockey staidum. 

I was wondering when the sour grapes would come out of the woodwork about the Classic.  Why can’t we just enjoy it for what it is, a great event for everyone and a huge bonus for Michigan.

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 02/10/12 at 07:16 PM ET

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Anyone who feels the league got this wrong, or that the game of hockey in general won’t benefit tremendously from playing the game in Ann Arbor is an ass.

Wings’ fans statewide, and indeed all over the country should be honored to have this event at the Big House for what will no doubt be one the biggest and most lucrative hockey events of all time.

Posted by godblender on 02/10/12 at 07:27 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

Wings’ fans statewide, and indeed all over the country should be honored to have this event at the Big House for what will no doubt be one the biggest and most lucrative hockey events of all time.

Posted by godblender on 02/10/12 at 04:27 PM ET

Why should we feel honored exactly?  Honored that 90% of the fans in attendance won’t be able to see a thing?

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 02/10/12 at 08:14 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Honored that 90% of the fans in attendance won’t be able to see a thing?

Unless Comerica is VASTLY different than Wrigley, the 10% of the fans who will be able to see well at the Big House will still greatly outnumber the raw number of fans with a good view of a hockey game in a baseball stadium.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/10/12 at 08:20 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

How is this Objectionable ? Have fun for the People Going Hope it is Perfect weather for the Game & the festivities before the game !


Good Lord some people just got to Piss & Moan about everything! In other words they are not happy unless they’re Bitching !

Posted by Evilpens on 02/10/12 at 08:23 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Parker fell down, looked up, and saw Dave Bing telling to STFU.  That’s all I gotta say.

Posted by SYF from Zata's Epic Viking Beard on 02/10/12 at 08:30 PM ET

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Rob who?

Posted by From The Hockey Wastelands from Cleveland on 02/10/12 at 09:27 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Spare me the irrelevant baseball nostalgia

Seriously.  For some of us, Fenway has no magic sparkle.  If a baseball nut said the same about the Joe I would say, “who gives a shxt?”  Baseball is masturbatory enough, they don’t need any help.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 02/10/12 at 09:39 PM ET

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Oh well, they have one these stupid outdoor games every month now, don’t they? Maybe next time…

Posted by Tiger Al on 02/10/12 at 11:21 PM ET

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Amazing that this guy can unify Wing fans in SUPPORT of an NHL decision. This is history in the making.

Posted by timbits on 02/11/12 at 01:34 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Anyone who feels the league got this wrong, or that the game of hockey in general won’t benefit tremendously from playing the game in Ann Arbor is an ass.

Wings’ fans statewide, and indeed all over the country should be honored to have this event at the Big House for what will no doubt be one the biggest and most lucrative hockey events of all time.

Posted by godblender on 02/10/12 at 04:27 PM ET

Not really fair at all… Parker is an ass for having crappy supporting arguments, not for having the premise, even if you disagree with it.

For the record, while I strongly feel it should be in Detroit, I have never and will never say it isn’t still a great thing that we get the event in our state, in one of our most important and recognizable communities. It’s still a great thing, absolutely.

Sure, and they’re getting more fanfare and events than any other Winter Classic has yet.  An AHL game, two OHL games, the Alumni game and the largest live audience for any hockey game every in the history of the universe.

They don’t deserve to have the game in a building they own.  Owning the building that the Detroit Tigers play in doesn’t have anything to do with hockey.

Would you be equally as happy if it were being played in a Little Caesar’s parking lot?

Posted by Garth on 02/10/12 at 03:33 PM ET

Yes, they are getting those things because the Ilitch family has again bent for the benefit of the overall league health despite the fact that it might not be what is best for the Ilitches or Red Wings. The AHL game, OHL games, and alumni game are great—but don’t hold a candle to having the actual meaningful NHL game there. You know that… come on.

Okay, forget the word deserve. They OWN the team. Obviously, it is a franchise so they have to play by some NHL rules. But it seems shitty to me that the league would force this silly ultimatum on the best ownership they’ve had in decades (being, do it our way or we’ll take the puck and go home).

Comerica Park has infinitely more to do with the Red Wings than U of M stadium for the fact that it is owned by the owner of the Red Wings. Not saying that’s a huge thing, but it is a clear connection that Michigan Stadium doesn’t have.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 02/12/12 at 02:26 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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